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Thread: The American Ladies Leading Up To Sochi.

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    The American Ladies Leading Up To Sochi.

    What do you think we can expect from the U.S ladies as they prepare for 2014 ? Of course we won't be able to know this until we see how the national team preforms at the 2011 worlds in Russia, but do you think that we have a legit shot of getting our 3 spots back ? Now just for the next worlds but the Olympic games. In the time leading up to Sochi do you think that the U.S ladies will having more gold and silver medal winning performances at major international competitons ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jtsmith123 View Post
    What do you think we can expect from the U.S ladies as they prepare for 2014 ? Of course we won't be able to know this until we see how the national team preforms at the 2011 worlds in Russia, but do you think that we have a legit shot of getting our 3 spots back ? Now just for the next worlds but the Olympic games. In the time leading up to Sochi do you think that the U.S ladies will having more gold and silver medal winning performances at major international competitons ?
    I think the whole "two or three spots" argument is irrelevant.

    I would always rather have two legit podium contenders as opposed to having "three skaters."

    OK, I see the logic problem in my last statement as two legit podium contenders will typically earn three spots.

    I stand by my statement though and await the year when USA Ladies have TWO legit podium contenders. I don't think we have that this season.

    Japan seems to have two podium contenders and three skaters that can finish in the top 6.
    USA does not have that which is why we only have two skaters going to Wolrds and most likely will only have two next season.

    If Alissa can finish in the top four and Rachael in the top 8-9 then we will have three skaters at Wolrds next season.

    I am sure Japan will have three Ladies at Wolrds next season but not so sure USA will have three. The way I see it they either earn it on the ice or they don't.

    And what if we get three spots back for next season? It is good for fan interest but is NO guarantee that we will keep three spots for the following season.

    Better odds, but in another year or two the Russian Babies will become eligible. Japan will still be strong so unless USA Ladies get back to their position of dominance there is no guarantee about three spots.

    I suspect we will have two Ladies qualifying for Worlds leading into Sochi.

    I do think on their best days Alissa and Mirai are world class but not so much Flatt or Wagner.

    Maybe we will need our younger girls to step up to get back to the glory days.

    That means Agnes, Christina and the others improving in both quality and consistency.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jtsmith123 View Post
    What do you think we can expect from the U.S ladies as they prepare for 2014 ? Of course we won't be able to know this until we see how the national team preforms at the 2011 worlds in Russia, but do you think that we have a legit shot of getting our 3 spots back ? Now just for the next worlds but the Olympic games. In the time leading up to Sochi do you think that the U.S ladies will having more gold and silver medal winning performances at major international competitons ?
    1. Yes, I think the USA can get three spots back if Flatt and Czisny skate their capabilities, regardless of what anyone else does.

    2. The second half of your question is harder to answer. But I'm liking the breadth of the American ladies right now.

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    Thanks for joining us, Jtsmith, and thanks for starting this thread. Welcome to Golden Skate. Post often, post long!

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    At the moment, there is no American Lady skater who has the Tech, or the Performance ability of Mao. Mao's 4CC was, imo, classic beautiful presentation. In 3 years she should be the top ranked skater.

    I'm awaiting to see something competitive of Yuna before writing anything further than She has the most speed of any skater today. If she stays for 3 years, we will watch closely at the GPs.

    Kostner, Czisny and Flatt all have competitive ability when they are "ON". But, they have a lot of catching up to Mao and Yuna. Not sure 3 years will do it.

    Similarly, there is a need for strong improvement by Nagasu and Gao.

    Don't knock the GPs as too early for peaking. Those skates are the ones that show improvements.

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    There are always a lot of promising young skaters, so it's hard to say what will happen with the up and comers. Agnes and Christina are probably done with growing pains and have already had some pretty good results so they should be factors, but they still have a lot of room for improvement and will need to prove themselves on the senior international stage in the coming seasons.

    Most of the promising girls younger and smaller than those two^^ (Courtney, Yasmin, Vanessa, Lauren, etc) I'm hesistant to predict greatness for, just based on what happened to Kimmie, Caroline, Katy, Emily, etc. Puberty, money, highschool/college scheduling, etc could all become issues so for now I'm adopting the wait-and-see attitude with this lot.

    Then we have more question marks in veteran skaters like:
    Alissa - will she continue to skate until Sochi and if she does, will she be too far past her prime by the time it rolls around? Also, has she really controlled her nerves?
    Ashley - will she stick around and if she does will she make the changes she needs to make to be a factor internationally? Or will the younger girls pass her by like it seems some have already?
    Rachael - will she be able to handle Stanford and skating, and if she can, will she be able to maintain her current level of technical content and consistency? If she is still getting good results in the coming season or two, would she be willing to take a year off from college to train in preparation of the Olympics?

    Mirai should still be around come Sochi and should be a factor, although being injury-prone, freespirited, and often a victim to her nerves like she is currently may make her less of a shoo-in for the Olympic Team as she maybe should be. So the question for her is can she remain injury-free, become better disciplined/more serious, and control her nerves in time for Sochi? Only time will tell. If she can't, she might be left off the team.

    So there are a lot of factors, and getting 3 spots for the Olympics could potentially be hard with all the talent coming up in Russia and Japan. That being said, we don't know if Yuna, Miki, even Mao, the Finns, etc. will even be competing at the next Olympics or the Worlds before it, so the odds of getting 3 spots may stay like they are now.
    Last edited by silverlake22; 04-17-2011 at 06:24 PM.

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    I think the only possible U.S medal hopes for Sochi are Nagasu and Agnes, but both have a whole lot of work to do. Czisny will be too old if she even is still skating and makes the team then, and Gao just isnt good enough. Flatt definitely isnt good enough and will probably go off to college after this season anyway. Wagner isnt even a consideration to ever make a U.S world team again, forget contending for a medal.

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    What brought the frustrating situation home to me was coming across an old skating magazine for 2007 or thereabouts (sorry; can't remember the exact year) in which a photo of the Junior World Champions appeared. The podium was an American sweep: Zhang, Nagasu, and I think Ashley Wagner. Zhang was the gold medalist. Where are the snows of yesteryear....

    I don't know whom we have coming down the pike, but the promising baby ballerinas who were supposed to dominate this current Olympic cycle are currently down on their luck. Thank goodness Alissa has remained. Though she is not the world's best jumper even when her nerves are steady, she has real distinction as a skater because her skating reflects a musicality of presentation, and she might be the best spinner in the world currently. But I can't see her holding out until Sochi. Mirai is great except when she isn't. Zhang...she could recover, but I wouldn't bet the farm on her suddenly becoming invincible. Rachael is steady but nowhere near the level of Mao and YuNa. Gao and Agnes: I don't know much about them, having seen them just the once as seniors, at Nationals.

    I'm not brimming over with confidence right now, but one can always be surprised by someone who isn't even on the horizon at this moment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pangtongfan View Post
    I think the only possible U.S medal hopes for Sochi are Nagasu and Agnes, but both have a whole lot of work to do. Czisny will be too old if she even is still skating and makes the team then, and Gao just isnt good enough. Flatt definitely isnt good enough and will probably go off to college after this season anyway. Wagner isnt even a consideration to ever make a U.S world team again, forget contending for a medal.
    Maybe being a little pessimistic. I mean, Miki Ando is the same age as Alissa, and she's winning pretty much everything this season. Now I know that this is now and not 3 years from now, that in the figure skating world there's a big difference between being 23 and 26, that the field is a little depleted right now with no Yuna or Joannie, Mao struggling, etc, and that Alissa doesn't have the jumps or consistency of Miki, but it's not entirely out of the question that she could still be internationally competitive come Sochi. I'm not counting on it, but it isn't out of the realms of possibility.

    Regarding Christina, she isn't good enough now, but that doesn't mean she won't be in 3 years. She has the most technical content out of all the US ladies right now and one of the only ones with a consistent 3-3, and her jumps are not only consistent but get +GOE. Her spins and spirals need work, yes, but these days they don't count for much anyway, and those things are easier to learn than a 3f-3t, plus she is already getting the levels as is. Her PCS aren't great but those should improve if she can perform well consistently on the senior ranks, which shouldn't be an issue considering her jumps are very solid and she doesn't seem to have any major issues regarding pressure. She's also going to have basically all of Orser's attention, at least for the upcoming season, which should help. This season didn't go as well as a lot of people hoped, but I think that was mainly due to 1.) her growthspurt and 2.) peaking too early in the season. The growing pains should be done, and she will likely figure out a plan with Brian to prevent peaking so early (ie at her 1st GP like she did this season) next season.

    This is just my opinion but I think Christina has better odds of becoming a medal contender internationally than Agnes does. Agnes is on a faster track for right now, which is why she's beating Christina, but I sort of feel like she's as good now as she's ever going to be, and could potentially regress. With Christina I don't feel the same way. Agnes has the quintessential Tom Z flaws - slow, a little generic, etc and if she stays with Tom I feel like those weaknesses won't be addressed. Christina, OTOH, has Orser and Wilson on her team, and has already improved tremendously under that team. The other thing about Agnes is her height. She towers over the competition, and for now she can still pull the jumps off because she's thin as a rail, but that might change in coming years and she could end up like Kostner or Phanuef, very talented, but very inconsistent. I know Christina got a lot taller this season too, but she's still a lot smaller than Agnes so I don't worry about her as much. If Agnes leaves Tom Z, then I think she still has a good shot at making the Olympic Team in Sochi and becoming a medal contender, but if she doesn't, I don't know.

    Mirai is still probably our best hope, but I don't know if she can really change. I hope she can, but, it's hard to tell. She's so good when she's on, but she's off as often as she is on, and if she wants to be on top, that has to change.

    Ashley and Rachael probably won't be factors but you never know. I think Caroline Zhang is done for sure, but I don't feel the same way about Ashley and Rachael. I think a lot will depend on how the up-and-comers fair on the senior ranks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    What brought the frustrating situation home to me was coming across an old skating magazine for 2007 or thereabouts (sorry; can't remember the exact year) in which a photo of the Junior World Champions appeared. The podium was an American sweep: Zhang, Nagasu, and I think Ashley Wagner. Zhang was the gold medalist. Where are the snows of yesteryear....

    I don't know whom we have coming down the pike, but the promising baby ballerinas who were supposed to dominate this current Olympic cycle are currently down on their luck. Thank goodness Alissa has remained. Though she is not the world's best jumper even when her nerves are steady, she has real distinction as a skater because her skating reflects a musicality of presentation, and she might be the best spinner in the world currently. But I can't see her holding out until Sochi. Mirai is great except when she isn't. Zhang...she could recover, but I wouldn't bet the farm on her suddenly becoming invincible. Rachael is steady but nowhere near the level of Mao and YuNa. Gao and Agnes: I don't know much about them, having seen them just the once as seniors, at Nationals.

    I'm not brimming over with confidence right now, but one can always be surprised by someone who isn't even on the horizon at this moment.
    I don't always watch juniors but think Adelina from Russia appears to have the goods. She has terrific 3x3 combos, has good height on her jumps and skates not necessarily like Sasha, but with a similar polished look for one so young. And good all around skating skills to boot.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScHLHx8AMpw

    I think she is 14 here and is already the Russian champion, Jr GPF champion and Jr World champion. I mention that because it seems she is already a good pressure skater.

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    We can always count on silverlake to put in a well-argued defense for Gao.

    Not saying the girl doesn't have the talent but she has two things going against her. One thing is the premature hype that always accompany a rising U.S. ladies skater and the second is that she has not one but two younger rivals from Russia who are also far from reaching their peaks. The girl sure has it tough!

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    Quote Originally Posted by miki88 View Post
    We can always count on silverlake to put in a well-argued defense for Gao.

    Not saying the girl doesn't have the talent but she has two things going against her. One thing is the premature hype that always accompany a rising U.S. ladies skater and the second is that she has not one but two younger rivals from Russia who are also far from reaching their peaks. The girl sure has it tough!
    We can also always count on Silverlake to boost Miki as having won everthing while suffering extreme amnesia when it comes to Alissa who won the GPF and beat Miki and the others at that event.

    Silverlake always predicts Alissa will fail so I guess I see why she finds it convenient to ignore it when she wins
    Last edited by janetfan; 04-18-2011 at 02:03 PM.

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    Alissa and Rachael are both outside medal contenders heading into this year's worlds. They need to be perfect and they probably need someone else to falter, especially Rachael. Even if they stick around for Sochi, I think the same description will apply to them then - IF they are even able to be maintain their current form, that its. In both cases, I don't see either of them showing huge improvements. If either of them do medal at worlds, however, I would imagine they would be very tempted to stick around at least for next year. I would certainly welcome seeing them compete for as along as they want.

    It still think Mirai is a better bet for Sochi than Alissa and Rachael. She's utterly competitive with the top of the field when she's on. Problem is, she hasn't been on vert often. So clearly, she's still a big question mark. Still, I see more room for improvement in her than I do for Alissa or Rachael.

    I'm counting Ashley out for now unless she shocks me with vast improvement next year. Same with Caroline, more so actually.

    I can't get as enthusiastic about Christina as Silverlake. She has a LONG LONG way to go before she can be legitimately considered a world class medal contender. I think the same about Agnes, to be honest. It's a wait and see game with these too and I'm definitely not counting them out.

    As for the junior girls, you just never know who will break through and who won't. Was Tara Lipinski even on the radar the year after the 1994 Olympics? Sarah Hughes was on the radar in 1999 but hardly as a gold medal hopeful. So you just never know.

    But if there is one US lady I am excited to watch for the next three years, it's still Mirai despite her up and down season this year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hernando View Post
    We can also always count on Silverlake to boost Miki as having won everthing while suffering extreme amnesia when it comes to Alissa who won the GPF and beat Miki and the others at that event.

    Silverlake always predicts Alissa will fail so I guess I see why she finds it convenient to ignore it when she wins
    I actually like Alissa, I just can't get my hopes up for her because she has left me disappointed too many times in the past. And yes, Alissa won the GPF, which Miki was at, but Miki did beat her in the FS there and further, Alissa's good GP results this season came at less competitive events. She won at SC, but her biggest competition at that event was Cynthia, Ksenia, and Agnes, and none of them skated very well there. At TEB she was only 3rd, behind Kiira and Mirai who didn't even skate terrificly themselves.

    Miki has beaten Mao, the reigning world champion, twice this season (nationals and 4CC) and at both these events Mao skated well. When Alissa can beat a well-skating Mao, then I'll take her seriously, but she has yet to do that, and honestly I think the chances of her beating Mao are very slim unless Mao bombs. Also, Miki is a former world champion, and the highest Alissa has ever finished at Worlds is 11th. I know people take issue with Miki but just because Alissa beat her once this season when Miki happened to bomb her SP, doesn't put them on equal footing at this point.

    Also I don't see how Liza and Adelina being so good affects Christina more than anyone else. I mean this past season, sure, they prevented her from tearing up the JGP, but once they are all competing on the senior ranks, Christina won't be the only one who has to compete against those two. Also due to all this talent coming up from Russia and Japan, I think 3-3s are going to become more of a necessity than they are currently, which favors the likes of Christina and Agnes and not so much Alissa, Ashley. Mirai and Rachael haven't done much in terms of 3-3s this season but they have in the past and have at least mastered the 2a-3t, and with Mirai reportedly landing 3as, they should be fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverlake22 View Post
    Maybe being a little pessimistic. I mean, Miki Ando is the same age as Alissa, and she's winning pretty much everything this season. Now I know that this is now and not 3 years from now, that in the figure skating world there's a big difference between being 23 and 26, that the field is a little depleted right now with no Yuna or Joannie, Mao struggling, etc, and that Alissa doesn't have the jumps or consistency of Miki, but it's not entirely out of the question that she could still be internationally competitive come Sochi. I'm not counting on it, but it isn't out of the realms of possibility.
    First of I dont think Ando even has a hope of being a threat by 2014 given her age. And Czisny is nowhere near the international proven competitor and reliable jumper and point getter that Ando is, so if I am not giving Ando any chance for 2014 I sure am heck am not giving Czisny any. I would love to see her hang around and make the team as maybe the 3rd U.S lady (I doubt we have to consider everyone developing well enough for the 3rd U.S lady to be a medal threat, LOL) as I would like to see her experience an Olympics as I think she deserves that, but it would be a Kwiatkowski like quest by then.

    Regarding Christina, she isn't good enough now, but that doesn't mean she won't be in 3 years. She has the most technical content out of all the US ladies right now and one of the only ones with a consistent 3-3, and her jumps are not only consistent but get +GOE. Her spins and spirals need work, yes, but these days they don't count for much anyway, and those things are easier to learn than a 3f-3t, plus she is already getting the levels as is. Her PCS aren't great but those should improve if she can perform well consistently on the senior ranks, which shouldn't be an issue considering her jumps are very solid and she doesn't seem to have any major issues regarding pressure. She's also going to have basically all of Orser's attention, at least for the upcoming season, which should help. This season didn't go as well as a lot of people hoped, but I think that was mainly due to 1.) her growthspurt and 2.) peaking too early in the season. The growing pains should be done, and she will likely figure out a plan with Brian to prevent peaking so early (ie at her 1st GP like she did this season) next season.

    This is just my opinion but I think Christina has better odds of becoming a medal contender internationally than Agnes does. Agnes is on a faster track for right now, which is why she's beating Christina, but I sort of feel like she's as good now as she's ever going to be, and could potentially regress. With Christina I don't feel the same way. Agnes has the quintessential Tom Z flaws - slow, a little generic, etc and if she stays with Tom I feel like those weaknesses won't be addressed. Christina, OTOH, has Orser and Wilson on her team, and has already improved tremendously under that team. The other thing about Agnes is her height. She towers over the competition, and for now she can still pull the jumps off because she's thin as a rail, but that might change in coming years and she could end up like Kostner or Phanuef, very talented, but very inconsistent. I know Christina got a lot taller this season too, but she's still a lot smaller than Agnes so I don't worry about her as much. If Agnes leaves Tom Z, then I think she still has a good shot at making the Olympic Team in Sochi and becoming a medal contender, but if she doesn't, I don't know.
    I like Gao so I hope she can improve enough, but we will see. I think she is an intelligent, consistent, hard working kind of skater. However she just doesnt have enough anywhere even GOE or PCS compared to skaters her own age or younger (eg- Agnes, the Russians, the young Japanese) right now even when she skates well. Yeah she could improve but she would need to improve more than people her age or younger who are already better than her and regularly beating her the last 2 seasons.


    Mirai is still probably our best hope, but I don't know if she can really change. I hope she can, but, it's hard to tell. She's so good when she's on, but she's off as often as she is on, and if she wants to be on top, that has to change.
    Agree entirely. If she can make the needed changes now she could be a real contender for 2014, but she really does need to make those now. Losing to Flatt at Nationals again and not making it to Worlds, along with not making the GP final after her breakout season, should be a red siren that she is at a pivotal crossroads of her career already.

    Ashley and Rachael probably won't be factors but you never know. I think Caroline Zhang is done for sure, but I don't feel the same way about Ashley and Rachael. I think a lot will depend on how the up-and-comers fair on the senior ranks.
    That would be a fair assessment for Flatt perhaps, but I wouldnt group Wagner with Flatt at all. Flatt has atleast held her spot on the senior Nationals podium and even top 2 for years now, and is atleast in position to defend her regular place on the World team vs her fellow vets and the up and comers.

    Wagner cant even place at the top in the U.S ever up to now, never mind internationally. She has already dropped behind the up and comers in the U.S and has seemingly forever been behind people like Flatt and Nagasu. It seems doubtful she can ever make a U.S World team again, never mind contending for a medal.
    Last edited by pangtongfan; 04-18-2011 at 09:15 PM.

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